• Home

Nature's Symmetries

It's all about the looking. As I've said before in this blog - the key is in the observation. 

Understanding symmetry can take on a new meaning if you spy them in nature. We all understand about looking in a mirror... and that's what Bilateral symmetry is. It's reflective symmetry. Its about identifying the line of reflection.


Many of natures forms display bilateral symmetry, we immediately think of butterflies or mussels. These symmetries can be a way to understand about shapes too. Matching the symmetries of different quadrangles to that of natural forms. But this is a nature blog so if you want to know more about the natural maths you can read the Autumn magazine from The Smart Happy Project.


But for now back to nature observation. What are easy to find at this time of year are the seeds from trees. The most obvious being the much loved ‘helicopters’ of the maple varieties.

 

 

 

Many leaves have bilateral symmetry and helpfully most of them often display a midvein for us to see, we can imagine this as the mirror line.>

 

 

 

Or if beaches are more your hunting ground, certain bivalve shells have this type of symmetry too.

 

 

 

In flowers sometimes we tend to think of rotational symmetry (eg: petals around a centre) but orchids or pea flowers show a reflective symmetry instead, can you see it?

In this image I have taken half the flower down the centre line and mirrored it onto the other half, so you can compare with the unedited photo.




I love spying these symmetries, if you want to too you can download a symmetry scavenger hunt here.


Stop looking for your own reflection and try to spy nature reflecting back to you!

Happy hunting!


Lisa The Smart Happy Project